About 2,000 people gathered to meet Pope Francis on the housing estate of Luník IX in the eastern-Slovak city of Košice. Pope Francis visited Luník IX as part of the programme on his third day in Slovakia.
Being part of the Church means being members of one team, Pope Francis said in his address to the Roma from Luník IX and other marginalised communities.
“You are not on the margins of the church, you are at its heart,” Pope Francis addressed the crowd. “Nobody shall feel put aside.”
The Pope said the Roma have too often been the subject of prejudice and pejorative stereotypes. "This has made all of us poorer - poorer in humanity," the Pope said. "To renew our dignity, we all need to go from stereotypes to dialogues, from closure to integration."
Pope also thanked all the people who perform the work of integration. "Putting people in ghettos solves nothing," Pope said. "The way to satisfied co-living is integration."
He called on priests and monks to not be afraid of assisting the marginalised. "You will realise you are assisting Jesus."
The pope further stressed that children are the hope for the unity of people. In the end, the Pope recited the Lord's Prayer with the Roma and blessed the visitors.
Many watched the event from the windows of the blocks of flats nearby.
As a gift, Francis received two paintings of the Blessed Roma Emily and Zephirin and a scaled-down sculpture of Christ, also located in the church in Luník IX.
14. Sep 2021 at 17:14 | Compiled by Spectator staff